Mass. PD mourns loss of officer who drowned trying to save teen

"We will remember and honor his selfless devotion to Worcester and his ultimate sacrifice to save someone he didn't know," Police Chief Steven Sargent said


By Melissa Hanson
MassLive.com

WORCESTER, Mass. — In 2016, as Enmanuel “Manny” Familia was joining the Worcester Police Department, in a video he thanked the academy staff for helping him prepare to be a better officer and offered a special message of gratitude to his wife, Jennifer, and two children, Jovan and Jayla.

“If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what I’d be doing at this point in time,” Familia said in the video. “They motivated me. They stuck by me throughout the past six months.”

But now, Familia’s career has been cut short and his family is left grieving. Familia died in the line of duty Friday, trying to save a drowning 14-year-old boy in the pond at Green Hill Park. The teen also died.

On Saturday morning, the Worcester Police Department escorted Familia’s body from UMass Memorial Medical Center to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Westfield.

Sunlight streamed down as police cruisers and motorcycles led the procession down Plantation Street as members of Worcester EMS lined the road. The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing hovered in the air.

Worcester officials on Saturday morning said information about a memorial fund and services for Familia would be forthcoming. Familia, 38, had been with the department for five years.

Police rushed to Green Hill Park at 1:35 p.m. Friday after receiving a report of a person struggling in the water there. Five officers went into the pond and were able to pull two individuals out.

But Familia was missing, as was the 14-year-old boy, who had been in the center of the pond and reaching his arm up.

Family members have identified the boy as Troy Love, who was visiting Worcester with family from Virginia.

Divers brought Familia to shore at 2:28 p.m. Love was found at 3:25 p.m. Both were taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.

Police Chief Steven Sargent has called Familia a hero.

“We will remember and honor his selfless devotion to Worcester and his ultimate sacrifice to save someone he didn’t know,” Sargent said during a Friday press conference.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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